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municipal races

Hand It Over

Are property taxes making homeowners sign over the deed to their homes to the government? Are you going to vote in your local elections? If not, you’ll see your property taxes continue to skyrocket. Dan and Amy discuss the latest property tax report in McHenry County.

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Equity Has No Home Here

Why are the property taxes in North Cook County at least double and some nearly three times the national average? Do people not want to confront their high property tax bills affecting their home value? Think there’s nothing you can do about it? What about your municipal elections in April? Dan and Amy discuss the latest regional property tax report in North Cook county.

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Solutions For Struggling Local Governments

Illinois – with nearly 7,000 units of government – has many municipalities in financial crisis. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes discuss with City Journal's Aaron Renn ways struggling municipalities can bounce back from their precarious financial situations. They also discuss how a Springfield lobbyist has become wealthy from gaming the system, and they talk about a new report showing Chicago as the number one city from which people are leaving. Also, hear the latest developments on the Cook County sweetened beverage tax and the likelihood of its repeal.

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Local Barber Ready To Give Government A Close Shave

When property taxes forced him to take a haircut, Bob Anderson decided the only way to change the system was from inside. Why is it so hard to reduce redundancies in state government? Only a small percentage of your property taxes pays for township government. Why is that a big deal? Will he run for governor? Dan Proft and Kristen McQueary comb through the details with the newly-minted McHenry County Trustee and barbershop owner.

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A Northern IL Barber's Fight Against Wasteful Government

With a backlog of bills and tax hike proposals at the state level – and nearly 7,000 taxing bodies in the state at the local level – Illinois taxpayers are hit from all over. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to Mark Glennon of Wirepoints.com about which proposals currently in Springfield actually help taxpayers, and which ones hurt. At the local level, they talk to a newly-elected McHenry Township trustee whose goal is to consolidate or eliminate the township entirely – savings taxpayers' money.

They also discuss the state's ongoing impasse with its largest government-worker union, AFSCME, and how a potential U.S. Supreme Court case could relieve fair share payers of the union's political stranglehold. And Proft and Hughes break down wasteful spending in higher education in the state.

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Recapping The Municipal Elections

Municipal elections took place April 4, and on this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Illinois Policy CEO John Tillman explain what that means for you and your pocketbook. They also talk to two victorious candidates who overcame obstacles en route to election day wins.

And Proft and Tillman give their thoughts on the political dynamics of the grand bargain, and how Gov. Bruce Rauner should message his agenda moving forward.

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Illinoisans Take Their Frustrations To The Voting Booth

If you hold public office and want to continue to do so---work in favor of your constituents---not yourself. Otherwise you’ll be next to go. Pat Hughes explains in this "Two Minute Warning."

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

So, as it turns out, Illinois families are tired of funding the lavish lifestyles of politicians.

And in this year’s Municipal Elections, they took their frustrations to the voting booth.

In Algonquin Township, Highway Commissioner Bob Miller is out – ending a fifty- two-year family dynasty, passed down from Miller’s grandfather. The Miller family was pulling in over four hundred thousand dollars a year. Apparently, voters in Algonquin Township take issue with a small township office – paid for by their tax dollars – being used as a family business.

Likewise, voters in Orland Park threw out twenty-four-year incumbent Mayor Dan McLaughlin. Seems to have had something to do with the one-hundred and ten-thousand dollar pay increase he got the Village Board to give him. Voters also took issue with being on the hook for the pension he spiked by eighty-thousand dollars per year. Imagine that.

Miller and McLaughlin aren’t the only two public officials in the state who have abused their positions for personal gain. They aren’t the only ones who have funded their life-styles on the backs of families and businesses and acted with total disregard for the trust placed in them by their constituents. There are other politicians who abuse the moral obligation to act responsibly with other people’s money.  But, Miller and McLaughlin’s political demise demonstrates that voters are not static.

They have seen the quality of their lives worsen as government grows more costly and inefficient. They’ve seen their home values and school quality decline while their property taxes go up. And, when armed with information about how their public officials have used and abused their trust and their money, they will rebel.  They just did.

So if you hold public office and want to continue to do so---work in favor of your constituents---not yourself. Otherwise you’ll be next to go.

You’ve been warned.

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Orland Park Revolts Against Ruling Class, Installs Pekau

What message does the Orland Park Mayor's race send to the political ruling class? Voters revolted in Orland Park, are they ready to revolt statewide? Keith Pekau, Mayor-elect of Orland Park, joins Dan & Amy to discuss his victory over a 24-year incumbent and how things will change for the better.

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Some Controversies Are Worth Having

In Wauconda, a controversy over the content of a Sept. 11 Memorial is dividing the candidates for Village Board and Mayor. Some people don't want to include the military in the Heroes of Freedom Memorial because "wars are controversial." Wauconda Mayor Frank Bart joins Dan & Amy to talk about one of the most bizarre controversies of recent memory.

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Why Are Old-Guard Journalists Resistant To New Models?

Shortly after a Cook County judge ruled that they will get their paychecks, lawmakers in Springfield headed back to negotiating multibillion dollar tax hikes as part of their "grand bargain" proposal. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to state Sen. Dan McConchie, R-Hawthorn Woods, who tells them why the current proposal is unacceptable, and why lawmakers haven't earned their paychecks.

They also analyze the familiar cries from legacy journalists over "fake news," and the false idea that journalists don't have points of view. And with municipal elections right around the corner, Proft and Hughes explain why these races can be crucial for taxpayers.

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Dollars And Sense: School Bd. Demands A Yes Vote

If you are a Glen Ellyn resident, you know your school board is demanding a ‘Yes’ Vote on a $24 million referendum. You may not know that since the last major referendum in Glen Ellyn, enrollment growth has slowed and even fallen. Yet, local property tax spending has increased by 253%. Pat Hughes explains in this edition of "Dollars And Sense."

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Dollars and Sense.’

If you are a Glen Ellyn resident, you know your school board is demanding a ‘Yes’ Vote on a twenty-four million dollar referendum.  

You may not know that since the last major referendum in Glen Ellyn, enrollment growth has slowed and even fallen. Yet, local property tax spending has increased by two-hundred and fifty-three percent.

As your property taxes are pressured higher and higher, your property values drop lower and lower.

In fact, over the past decade, property values in Glen Ellyn have dropped nineteen percent.

If this continues, by twenty-twenty-three, you will pay fifty percent of your home’s value in property taxes.  

The school board’s demands and manipulative “Forward for Kids” campaign are shameless.  If anything, a twenty-four million dollar tax increase leads us “Backward” and “Downward.” Big-spending Illinois politicians like those on the District Forty-One School Board have made it hard enough for families in DuPage.

They continue to raise your taxes with no regard for you or the life you are trying to build. Their campaign and their demands are outrageous and out of touch. Vote against them.

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The Fight Against Predatory School Boards

Across the state from DuPage County to the Metro East Region, local school boards are after more and more of your hard-earned money. And they think their con is bulletproof: “It’s for the children.” Who can argue with that? Pat Hughes does in this "Two Minute Warning."

This is Pat Hughes with this week’s Upstream Ideas ‘Two Minute Warning.’

Look, I get it standing up to a school board is tough. After all, they claim they’re doing everything “for the children.” Opposing school funding increases means you’re not going to be too popular. You lose friends. Miss out on parties. You get looks of distain in the car line. Standing up to a school board takes guts.

But that’s exactly what we need right now.

Across the state from DuPage to Metro East, local boards are after more and more of your hard-earned money. And they think their con is bulletproof: “It’s for the children.”

Who can argue with that?

I can. And so should you.

School boards who want to increase your taxes are not brave. They are not magnanimous. They are not doing this for children. They are raising your taxes. They are decimating your home’s value. They are wiping out your greatest investment. All so they can continue their spending.

Just look at Edwardsville. Local property tax spending grew thirty-five percent in ten years, while district enrollment grew just seven percent.

The district is ranked among the most debt-ridden school districts in Illinois.

That debt has taken a toll on home values.

But will they stop? No.

The district is asking taxpayers for another six point nine million dollars and threaten to cut sports, band, and more if voters don’t agree to hike taxes.

But is it really “for the children” when – despite constant and generous spending increases – two-thirds of fourth graders in the state don’t read or perform math at grade level? The truth is K-twelve systems have become third-party administrators to bestow salaries and benefits on adults in the system … namely teachers and administrators. 

In the fight against predatory school boards, you are your community’s greatest asset. You are a change agent.

Be relentless. And be prepared. Those who benefit from this failed system are just waiting for us to get tired and get out of their way. You’ve been warned.

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Springfield Legislation Targets Donor Privacy

On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes discuss dangerous legislation in Springfield aimed at eliminating privacy for donors to advocacy groups. They also break down Illinois' new migration numbers, which yet again, offer a negative outlook for the state, and one northwest Illinois homebuilder tells them why he might be headed to Iowa.

Plus, with less than a week to go before municipal elections April 4, Proft and Hughes interview the challenger to longtime Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin.

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Richard Irvin On His Candidacy For Aurora Mayor

A lot of focus is on the state and national level, but municipal elections are right around the corner on April 4. On this edition of Illinois Rising, Dan Proft and Pat Hughes talk to a candidate for mayor in Aurora who is looking to make reforms to benefit taxpayers. They also explain how Orland Park's mayor – now one of the highest paid in the world – raised his own salary to spike his pension.

Keeping an eye on the state level, Proft and Hughes also go in-depth on a minimum wage hike proposal in Springfield with economist Don Boudreaux. And they shine light on a $1.5 million proposal two Democrat lawmakers were proposing to translate the General Assembly website from English to Spanish – something that can already be done for free.

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And The Children Shall Lead Us

Dan & Amy discussed school spending, increasing property taxes, and local government elections with Jake Leahy, an 18-year-old running for school board in Bannockburn. Jake argued that we need a new generation of leadership to have a say in the future, rather than leaving it to the same old voices in Springfield.

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Will You Vote In The April 4th Local Elections?

Orland Park's Decades Of Debt

Dan & Amy discuss the Village of Orland Park's Mayoral Race and 24-year incumbent Dan McLaughlin's efforts to spike his pension by quadrupling his salary.

The South Cook News took an in-depth look at Orland Park and Mayor McLaughlin's record:

When the shopping spree started back in 1998, Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin was warned. 

One trustee asked village leaders “not do something comparable to going to Disney World on a credit card.”

They would do that, and then some.

A recreation center. A pool. A fund to buy vacant land. Renovating a shopping district. More employees. Higher salaries.

Two decades and some $234 million in debt later, the bill for McLaughlin’s borrowing and building, hiring and public employee pension-increasing has come due.

The mayor, 63, is preparing for retirement. Orland Park property owners are girding themselves for years of suffocating property taxes.

Read more here.

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Glen Ellyn Schools Chief Admits To Sharing Community Emails With Pro-Referendum Group

Glen Ellyn School District 41's school superintendent has taken responsibility for giving the email addresses of school parents to a local political advocacy group.

After numerous inquiries from school board members and village trustees, Paul Gordon, District 41 school superintendent, finally acknowledged late Thursday that he released all community email addresses the district had to 41 Forward for Kids, which is supporting a referendum to borrow $24.2 million.

Gordon made the admission in an email to school board members, the DuPage Policy Journal has learned.

Read more here.

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Pension Spiking: Same Story, New Cast

Another Illinois politician is raising his salary to maximize his pension benefits before he retires. This time it's Orland Park Mayor Dan McLaughlin. You've been warned.

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In Glen Ellyn A School District Asks Taxpayers For More Money. Out Of Thin Air.

Glen Ellyn District 41 is bigger and spends more today than it did in 1987. Enrollment is 32 percent percent higher. Its five schools serve 3,163 students, versus 2,300 back then.


Local property tax spending by the district has grown nearly eight times as much over the period, by 253 percent, from $13 million to $46 million in 2015.


Most of this increase has gone to teacher salaries. Two years after the 1987 referendum gave it a bigger pot of money, the District 41 Board of Education approved a 20 percent pay increase for teachers. Salaries and pension benefits have steadily grown ever since.

Read more from DuPage Policy Journal.

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